Number of suspicious transaction reports rise 22.9 percent in 16H1

Macau’s Financial Intelligence Office received a total of 1,118 suspicious transaction reports during the first half of 2016, a surge of 22.9 percent compared to the first half of 2015, according to data released from the Office.

Of the total, 780 of these reports were filed by Macau’s gaming operators, accounting for 69.7 percent of the total, an increase from 682 cases last year, or 13.4 percent.

It is however, worth noting that the data does not indicate a surge in money laundering or other criminal activity, rather a surge in transactions that have been flagged.

During the six months, 135 of the cases were sent to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for further investigation.

In related news, last week, it was reported that the Macau government is planning to introduce a bill that would require visitors to disclose cash holdings of more than MOP 120,000 (US$15,000) at entry.

Executive Council spokesman Leong Heng Teng said the measure would help to prevent money-laundering activities in the city.

According to Leong, the bill would see any inbound travelers carrying cash or negotiable instruments worth more than MOP120,000 needing to declare them at a separate declaration channel at customs.